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Sunday, May 27th – Dubrovnik, Croatia

So, the only thing I know about Croatia is that it produced the very hunky, very gorgeous, very handsome Goran Visnjic – the guy who plays/played Luka on “ER”.  How bad can the place be??

We got up extra early today so we could be on deck when we pulled into Croatia – and it’s so beautiful!   Once we are docked, we meet Dot and Russ for breakfast in the Metropolitan dining room.  Russ is going with us this morning.  I tried the kippers – not  a fan.

Dot’s leg was bothering her, so instead of coming downstairs and off the ship with us to visit the vendors who had set up tables on the pier, she stayed on board to get some rest.  Brighid and I had already gone downstairs, so we browsed the vendors, then waited with Russell until our tour left. 

Our guide was Ivana from Elite tours, and she was GREAT – funny, knowledgeable, and such a wealth of information.  Loved her.

We stopped along the Dalmatian coast for a panoramic photo opportunity of the old city of Dubrovnik and the port below.  The water is so blue, you think immediately of the crystal blue Caribbean water when you see it. 

From this brief stop, we headed to the home and studio of artist Mijo Sisa Konavljanin.  We were welcomed into his gallery with grape brandy and dried figs, and Ivana described for us the inspiration for his paintings and how well they reflected life in Croatia.  After that nice stop, we boarded the bus and drove through more of the beautiful Croatian countryside to the home of the Glavic family.  We are shown photos of how the home was virtually destroyed during the war with Yugoslavia, and then taken on a tour of where the olive oil is made.  The family grows olives and grapes to make olive oil, grape brandy, and Dalmatian wine.  We are again welcomed with grape brandy and dried figs, which Brighid has decided are gifts from the gods, and then a musical duo comes out and performs for us.

In not too long, we are escorted into a very nice dining room for lunch.  The first course is a tray of Dalmatian smoked ham (which is very similar to prosciutto) and a variety of cheeses, and that is followed by what looks like a delicious salad.  The main course is a piece of chicken breast with a potato salad that is light and tasty.  Dessert looks like a fig pastry, and it smells fabulous!!   Brighid and Russell eat it right up and seem to really enjoy it.

The musicians join us and play throughout the meal, and end with a few international favorites as opposed to the Croatian music they have been playing (even a round of Jingle Bells pops up at the end).  They are really good and very entertaining. 

After lunch, we are heading to the old town of Dubrovnik for a bit of free time to roam or shop, and on the way, we run right into the motorcade of the President of Croatia, who is visiting today because it is independence day.  We end up in the old city, which is jammed with people both visiting on vacation and locals celebrating the holiday.  We run to find the tie shop that has been recommended by Jennifer on the ship.  The legend says that ties were invented by the Croatians.  Wives and girlfriends would tie a necktie or kerchief around the necks of their fisherman husbands and boyfriends.  One tail of the tie meant love, and the other meant fidelity.  It was a way for the men to remember their loved ones while they were away for months of fishing.  I thought it was a beautiful legend, and wanted Jim to have a Croatian necktie to wear in Milwaukee.  Brighid picked up a small gift for her theology teacher, who is from Croatia.  We grabbed post cards and a magnet and returned to the bus for our trip back to the ship.  The vendors were still outside, so I picked up a sweater set for Ann and nesting dolls for Eilis.

Dinner for me tonight was gumbo, crab and crawfish stuffed flounder, and the cheese plate for dessert.  The show tonight was Violin Virtuoso Nicola Loud, who was very good.

Fondest Memories of Today – finding the tie for Jim and enjoying the Croatian music at the Glavic house.